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News, Reviews & Features
  • Review: Bait is tighter than a duck's arse

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 24th February 2020

    My partner made me turn Bait off after two minutes because she said it was "pretentious," so we watched Ru Paul's Drag Race instead. My idiot friends spent an hour trying to come up with wanking jokes in our WhatsApp group because Mark Kermode said the film was a "masterpiece" (master + bait + combined mental age of 12), with predictably disappointing results. But like my mum said when I came home from riding my bike one day and she told me the Under 9s coach had rung to say the rules had changed and teams only fielded ten players now so I shouldn't show up for practice anymore: "It's their loss, Luke, you're brilliant at football."

  • Review: Uncut Gems is an anxiety attack in film form

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 7th February 2020

    What's the worst lie you've ever told? Let me rephrase that: what's the worst lie you've ever told and got away with? Congratulations! From the synapses snapping away to bring your consciousness to life, to the cells in the blood pumped around your veins, to the atoms in your DNA, and all the stardust delivered on a rock from a galaxy far, far away embedded in your primeval history, that deception is now a part of what makes you uniquely you. So was it worth it?

  • Review: Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is good, but conflicted

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 19th December 2019

    There’s no denying that Star Wars: The Last Jedi created a massive disturbance in the force, as if a million voices suddenly cried out in entitled outrage and were suddenly empowered to act like total asshats on Twitter. All Rian Johnson really did was evolve his film beyond the tropes, cliches and traditions that have become the hallmarks of every episode in the saga until that point. Bury the past - or literally burn it down - and move on. Forget the old and make way for the new, otherwise how can there be any progress? After all, "we are," muses Yoda, "what they grow beyond". But if that proved a divisive move, then what JJ Abrams does with this final instalment is equally controversial: ignore that new approach entirely and return to the safe familiarity of the old template. There’s important plot development, of course, but it is housed within a return to the brand adherence and fan service that The Force Awakens originally offered. Skywalker rises, but Episode 9 of 9 simply stays on target.

  • Review: Hurricane is cheap as chips but rises above to tell a stirring tale

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 25th September 2019

    "Chaos with Ed Miliband or stability with me" David Cameron declared in 2015, before quitting and plunging the country into a turmoil the two Prime Ministers since have managed to somehow make worse. But despite austerity measures and fox hunting and all the other cartoonishly cruel Tory pursuits, nothing compares to the completely avoidable damage leaving the European Union is going to wreak. Food and medicine supplies interrupted; regions of industry due to be decimated; the Pound Sterling crippled - all because of vain grabs for glory by power-hungry millionaires who got lucky that enough people on Facebook could be convinced the Romanian brickie down the street was the root cause of all their problems, and not the hereditary bankers with secret offshore accounts waiting to stiff their fellow countryfolk. But the harm is done, and we can never go back to a time when Sunday dinner wasn't a simmering saucepan of gritted teeth pleasantries, ready to boil over as you ask your freshly emboldened racist aunt to please pass the bloody swede. Well I wish we could find a way to project Hurricane onto the White Cliffs of Dover and force all the gullible idiots who voted for Brexit to watch it, not least because to do so they'd have to GET IN THE FUCKING SEA.

  • Review: Shaft (2019) is... what the hell did I just watch?

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 9th July 2019

    The danger with judging films based on what you want rather than what you get is you'll forever be on the lookout for things that don't agree with your blinkered view of the world. It's a slippery slope; one minute you'll be tapping furiously into Twitter trying to get Piers Morgan's attention, the next setting up a change.org petition with the vitriolic entitlement of a superhero movie manbaby. That said, they've somehow made a new Shaft film with the exact same comic inclination as an Adam Sandler movie, and while I'm happy the baddest badass motherfucker in town is back, I've never forced myself to sit through something so much in my entire life.

  • Review: Wine Country is a waste of a great ensemble cast

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 17th June 2019

    One thing that fascinates me about film-making is not the how of how movies are made, but the when. We see stars grow in real time these days and very often, once their careers have developed enough, they become producers - meaning the shows and films we watch follow their whims. That explains why we get a glut of movies about having babies, followed by a wave of thirties singleton rom-coms, and these subjects mould the wider zeitgeist. And now we're entering what should be the most interesting phase, where all your favourite stars are burnt out and holding grudges: the mid-life crisis. Fight! Fight! Fight!

  • Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix is an unevolved end to a once super franchise

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 10th June 2019

    So now the X-Men franchise comes to an end. Since that first ensemble movie was released 19 years ago, the property has launched 12 films (13, if you count the still-to-be-unshelved The New Mutants) and has not only become a staple of the superhero genre in the process, but helped set the template for how to do this kind of movie well. And here we have the last instalment; the final chapter that, surely, the entire saga has been working towards for nearly two decades: a fourth-film reboot set in an alternate timeline remaking the same story from the third film of the original movies. It’s the only conclusion we’ve ever really wanted!

  • Review: Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is a dreary mess of titanic proportions

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 29th May 2019

    To all those that said Gareth Edwards' Godzilla was a bore, or that it was slow, or that it took too long to reveal the beast himself, this one's on you, because this new monster mêlée follow-up is a megatomic nuke to the senses. It's a relentless shit-storm of mayhem and bullshit that attempts spectacle but delivers shaky-cam confusion and exhausted clichés for optimum headaches and head-shakes. It's a slog, an onslaught of expensive oblivion and a brain-fouling juggernaut of chaos. Although, I realise some of you may actively want all of this from your giant monster stories.

  • Review: Rocketman is a Bo Rhap glow-up... but then again, no

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 22nd May 2019

    Put Bohemian Rhapsody out of your head: this jukebox musical about a flamboyant rock singer directed by Dexter Fletcher is nothing like that jukebox musical about a flamboyant rock singer directed by Dexter Fletcher. In principle at least, Bo Rhap made sense as a tribute to the mercurial nature of the Queen frontman, a celebration of his musical genius and his tragic legacy. Rocketman, however, is quite different. For starters, Elton John (Tantrums & Tiaras, Kingsman 2, every other fucking episode of the The Graham Norton Show, apparently) is alive and well and executively producing his own vanity biopic. As a celebration of Elton's music, Rocketman delivers a satisfying and foot-stomping soundtrack of wall-to-wall bangers, but as an exploration of the man himself, it lacks any notable dramatic impetus outside of the generic rise, fall and rise template. It's less a movie, more a West End stage musical in search of a worthy hero.

  • Review: Polar is a blizzard of clichéd tedium

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 24th February 2019

    Working yourself to the bone during the prime of your life so you can live comfortably when you're too old to do anything seems really backwards. I'll happily stitch clothes with my gnarled hands in return for soup until I expire at my sewing table when I'm seventy, just let me have some fun now. What if I don't even make it to old age because of some horrible illness or a nuclear war? All those hours toiling away for nothing. Awful thoughts. Everything is terrible. Although I guess things can't be that bad if the worst thing that happened to me this week was watching Netflix's Polar, in which a hitman retires. Which is why I said all that stuff just now.